Wednesday, October 28, 1998 18:07
Workers with Cancer Charge Dimona Nuclear Plant Responsible
(IsraelWire-10/28-17:18-IST) Eight employees from the Dimona Nuclear Energy Research Facility who have cancer, have filed a claim in the Beersheba Labor Court, after the National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) refused to recognize their illness as work-related.
The workers requested that the National Insurance recognize their cancer as work-related, because of high exposure to radioactive radiation and materials. The National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) denied the request, claiming that the levels of radiation to which they were exposed were not the cause of their illness.
The eight appealed this decision in the Beersheba Labor Court, claiming that they were exposed to high levels of radiation for many years, and that they were not provided with proper protective gear.
In the appeal, the attorney for the eight employees asked that the court direct the Nuclear Research Facility to turn over detailed information concerning the types of materials to which the claimants were exposed, details about the radiation checks made in the facility, and full facts about their safety standards. In the event that the Dimona facility does not provide the claimants council with the asked-for information, the attorney has requested that the court appoint a medical expert who would receive all the relevant material and would give a professional opinion.
Each of the eight previously entered individual cases, and only recently were instructed by the court to unify their claims into one case. Two of the claimants have died of their illnesses since initiating the court actions, and their case is being continued by their families. In addition to the claim in the Labor Court, several of the claimants have also sued the Nuclear Research Facility for damages.
The defense claims that there is no causal connection between the cancer and the work conditions, and that the cancer developed naturally.